Screwing in skirting

Tape Measure

With the words “screwing” and “skirting” in the title, this post will no doubt produce some interesting search terms in the logs but sadly, it’s not as exciting as it sounds. I am, of course, referring to the stuff that goes round the bottom of your walls and the best way of attaching said stuff. Don’t worry sir, the next link down will probably about transvestite sex – just hit the “Back” button on your browser. Bye!

Right, those that are left are now either interested in DIY or twisted enough to become sexually excited at the thought of wooden planks. If it’s the latter then I am seriously impressed and I take my hat off to you for developing a truly original perversion. You must spend a lot of time in the B&Q toilets.

Now, I’m not going to cover the nitty gritty of getting your skirting to line up nicely with lovely mitred corners; I can’t even do that myself so there’s no point trying to teach others. Being useless at getting bits of wood to line up is why decorator’s caulk was invented. This is purely about the mechanics of getting it attached to the walls. “No More Nails” I can hear you thinking (no, of course I can’t really), and to some extent you are correct. If you’ve got lovely flat walls and if you’ve got lovely flat wood and if you don’t ever want to take it off again. On the other hand, if you live in a Victorian house there won’t be a flat wall in sight and the plaster will consist of sand and pebbles, bound with dried-out spit. You will probably also find that your skirting is slightly warped or, if you’ve bought it from B&Q or Homebase, bent like a fucking corkscrew. By screwing it into the wall, you can fit the wibbly wobbly line of the walls and unbend the wood as you go. You can also take it off easily, should you want to fit extra sockets, paint neatly under the skirting board line or if you get a sudden urge to dress it up in a negligee and sleep with it, you sick, sick person. So here is my method to get those screws wanged in at exactly the right position and at a phenomenal rate.

You will need:

  • Three cordless drills. Well, you don’t need three but you will be using 2 drill bits and a screwdriver, so the more drills you have the quicker it’ll be because you won’t be swapping bits all the time.
  • Red rawlplugs. Probably red. I’ve found the ones for size 8-10 screws always are.
  • Screws – Size 8, 2″ long. Or longer if you’ve got nasty plaster. Size 10 if you need more force to unbend the wood.
  • A 6mm wood drill bit and a 6mm masonry drill bit. Check the rawlplug to make sure you have the correct masonry drill bit. Use the same wood drill bit size as this one.
  • A hammer (Oh yes!)


  1. Put the skirting on the wall, where you want it fixed.
  2. Drill through the skirting with the wood drill.
  3. Make sure the skirting is in exactly the right place and then drill into the wall with the masonry drill, through the hole you just made in the skirting.
  4. Put the rawlplug into the hole in the skirting. Screw a screw into the rawlplug by a 1/2 a turn or so – just enough to hold it in place.
  5. Tap the screw with the hammer to bosh it and the rawlplug through the skirting and into the wall. There should be about a rawlplug’s length of screw sticking out when the screw/plug combination hits the bottom of the hole.
  6. Screw the screw in.

The depth of hole you drill in the wall depends on the length of your screws, but you can estimate it to start with by holding a screw up to a bit of skirting, seeing how far it sticks out the back and seeing how far up the drill bit you need to go to go that deep.

If you find that the screw stops going in before the board is tight to the wall, and just spins round in a pathetic way (“pathetic” is an accurate description – you wait until it happens to you), your hole might not be deep enough causing the screw to bottom out. That last phrase should get a few more perverts here. Or it could be that you aren’t inserting the rawlplug deep enough into the wall for it to reach anything solid to grip in. Try using a longer screw and drilling further into the wall – until you drill into the brick.

With three drills and a mouthful of screws and rawlplugs, you can get your badly-cut, wrongly sized bits of skirting screwed cock-eyed onto a wall before your wife can say “christ, look at the state of that – why the hell couldn’t we have got in a proper carpenter, you tightwad?” Good luck!

4 Replies to “Screwing in skirting”

  1. Hi Naich, I came across your post while searching for tips on fitting skirting board, as I also fall in to the, as you say, “christ, look at the state of that – why the hell couldn’t we have got in a proper carpenter, you tightwad?” category of DIY’er!

    I’ve duly made some notes based on your instructions and I’m shortly off to get the bits and bobs needed. I just wanted to post a ‘thanks’ as I know it’s often the case that you share advice, which people use, but never get any thanks!

  2. PS. Forgot to say that while I originally found this blog while searching for skirting board tips, I re-found it today by searching for “crappy” (I remembered that bit from your blog title) and “skirting” – hopefully that won’t be the case though, lol!

  3. I have put Plaster board onto besser brick walls and need to put skirting along the bottom to tidy and secure the board in places. How would you lay skirtings? Would you drill through plaster and into Besser brick wall? The flooring is tiled.
    Many thanks,

  4. Hi Paula. It depends how straight the wall and skirting are. Plasterboard won’t be strong enough to pull warped skirting straight or bend straight skirting round wibbly wobbly bits of the wall. If everything is straight though, it’ll be fine. You could try just going into plasterboard and if it all goes horribly wrong it won’t matter that much because any gaping holes will be hidden behind the skirting and you can just go a bit further into the brick next time.

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